Relax Your Way to a Better You
● By Kimberly Boney
Be Kind, Unwind
By Kimberly Bonéy
LIFE CAN BE HECTIC, hyper-stimulating and generally overwhelming without one very necessary, yet often elusive element: relaxation. As crucial as it is to our ability to continue at the break-neck speed to which many of us are accustomed, we often find ourselves scrambling to reclaim even a few precious moments to ourselves. If finding room in our busy schedules to take a breather wasn’t enough, there’s the self-imposed guilt factor. Being our most productive and balanced means that the breaks are just as important to our well-being as our routine. It’s time we let go of the guilt. Mastering the art of relaxation is the pathway to becoming better parents, better children, better employees, better coworkers and better friends. We’ll show you how to relax your way to a better you.
Get a Pedicure. Far more than just a way to maintain optimal hygiene, a pedicure is an act of self-love. Between the warm water, the release of toxins from your system through your feet and the chair massage that typically comes with spa pedicures, you’ll walk away from the experience feeling like a brand-new person.
Take A Soothing Bath. A handful of Epsom salts and 10 drops of lavender essential oil in a warm bath is a great way to soak off the stress of the day. Light your favorite candle. Leave your phone on silent and out of reach. The world will be just fine without you for 20 minutes.
Grab A Coloring Book. There’s a reason that adult coloring books are hugely popular right now. Coloring allows you a mental escape from the world. Watching the colors pour across the page is a fun-filled way to decompress. Listen to your favorite playlist while you do it.
Snuggle a Four-Legged Friend. Aside from the fact that being around your pet can lower your blood pressure and heart rate (they don’t call them therapy pets for nothing), who couldn’t find pure bliss in the eyes of a furry family member that looks at you as if you are the only human on the planet?
Strike an Unusual Pose. Lay on the floor with both legs in the air, resting them against the wall. With your feet elevated, your heart doesn’t have to work quite so hard. Take deep breaths and imagine yourself in a peaceful place you love. Take five minutes to give your ticker and your nerves a much-needed rest.
Go Forest Bathing. During the 1980s in Japan, the practice of Shinrin-yoku, which translates to “taking in the forest atmosphere,” was developed as a viable, preventative health care option. There is peace to be found in the sound of water rushing over rocks and harmony to be discovered amongst the endless shades of green. The North State is full of places to reclaim a few moments to yourself with a bit of Shinrin-yoku.
Do Something Creative. There’s an artist that lives within all of us. Sometimes he or she gets tucked away for far too long. Bring your creative side out to play. Whether your art is painting, making jewelry, woodworking, playing an instrument or working your magic in the kitchen, you’ll feel better once you’ve taken a few beats to creatively unwind.
Just Breathe. It sounds simple, but meditating can lighten your mood in just a few minutes. The Buddhist tradition has stood the test of time. Inhale for four seconds, hold your breath for seven, and count to eight as you exhale.
Spend Time With A Friend. No one knows you quite like a good friend. Find an hour for a one-on-one date with the person who can make you laugh or talk you out of your funk at the drop of a hat. Being in the moment – with someone you don’t have to explain yourself to – is a sweet way to de-stress.
Go Star-Gazing. There’s something about a beautiful night sky that has a calming effect. Find an open space, pull up a blanket and pillow and watch the stars with your loved ones. And with the smog-free nature of a North State sky, you may even catch a shooting star or two. Now, make a wish. •